Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why All The Fifth Estate Hate??

I finally saw The Fifth Estate.
And while walking in, I was confused. I had seen the trailer and loved it

but almost all of the critics seemed to be bashing it to pieces. So I sat in my seat alone. Didn't even invite friends because no one seemed interested. As the lights went down I instinctively knew which way I'd side.

The Fifth Estate is not a bad movie. Not by a long shot.
In fact, it has one of the most consistently good casts I've seen this year. From the quite excellent leads, Daniel Brühl and Benedict Cumberbatch, to the surprising (I didn't know they were in this movie) co-stars, Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci (???), to the incredibly sexy Alicia Vikander... I honestly can't recall a single bad performance.

Then there's the script. I don't believe there is nearly as much problem with the script as many of those oh so subtle reviewers seem to claim. At one point I recall one critic blasting it as being incompetently un-cinematic. And while there is an element of that (namely the computer sequences) and the script does a poor job tiptoeing around that (a la a metaphorically never ending office with only two employees) the majority of Assange and Berg's relationship seemed quite real to me.

Now I don't know the facts. I wasn't there. But neither was the rest of the media. So when Assange himself gets up and claims the movie to be utterly untrue, I have to wonder... Because the picture this film paints is one wherein both characters see the world the way they want to see it. And there's a succinct believability for me in that. I don't think it "demonizes Assange", nor do I think it claims that Berg is absolutely right. I think The Fifth Estate did a surprisingly good job of staying unbiased. And perhaps that's where the real hate comes from.

I tend to dislike films without "bias"... but when I say that I mean a film without a clear perspective. I think The Fifth Estate still had that and I'll disagree with anyone who claims it was lopsided until they can prove it to me.

One Quick Almost Spoiler
Anyway, there's a scene that I still cannot get out of my head. When Assange goes to Berg's parents' house for dinner, there is a moment that was so believable to me. And in that moment I sensed a better representation of a character's hidden perspective than I think I've ever seen on film. If you've read this blip and know what I am referring to I really want to talk to someone about it!!
End Almost Spoiler

The Fifth Estate... some say it's too smart... some say it's too stupid... and I'm just left here feeling like Goldilocks.

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